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How To Clean a Carbon Steel Pan

Our Blue Carbon Steel Pan is a perfect hybrid of a cast iron skillet and a stainless steel frying pan, meaning it has cast iron’s heat retention, seasoning, and non-stick properties from cast iron with the benefits of stainless steel ’s heat control and cooking speed. And best of all, it’s lighter than both cast iron and stainless steel, it seasons more quickly than cast iron, and it’s meant to get dirty. In fact, the more blackened and worn it gets, the better it performs.

However, like a cast iron pan, you have to be careful when cleaning your carbon steel pan. Water and soap will strip the pan of it's seasoning and its nonstick properties. How do you keep your pan clean and perfectly seasoned and slick? Keeping reading!

Cleaning & Storing Carbon Steel 

We're sure you've taken the time to properly season your carbon steel pan and it would be a shame to undo all of the progress you've made by dunking the pan into water and scrubbing it clean. 

The key to cleaning carbon is being gentle!

When you finish cooking with your pan, you should gently wipe the pan clean with a paper towel or dish towel. We prefer paper towel because this is usually something you want to throw away instead of washing after a single use. Either way, a paper towel or dish towel should help you collect any food remnants and absorb excess oil and fat. 

If you have food that's stuck or burnt to the pan's surface, it’s necessary to scrub...which mean you need a little water to loosen debris.  Do NOT use soap and do NOT use a soaking bath. Gently scrub the residue off with a bristle brush or sponge and a small amount of water, but beware - water and moisture are the mortal enemies of carbon steel. When you’re done washing off food residue, totally and completely wipe your pan to remove ALL dampness before you store it. In fact, you might want to put it over on the stove over medium heat to help dry out any water or moisture. 

If drying your pan out cases the surface to get too dry and loose it's slickness, you should re-season with oil in the oven or on the stove top. Read our article on re-seasoning carbon steel to learn how it's done. 

Once your pan is clean (and maintains its slickness) you can store alongside your other pans. If you live in a place with natural moisture (or don’t use your skillet often), apply a very thin coating of oil to the surface to prevent rusting before you put it away. Your pan should always have a slick and slightly oiled surface.

Need some inspiration on how to put this pan to use? Be sure to check out some of our favorite carbon steel recipes and learn how why carbon steel is a professional chef's secret weapon. 

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